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Dry weather not cause for panic, at ski area near Glenwood

JOHN GARDNERPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The ski/snowboard season is gearing up to be one for the record books, it just may not be the records resorts are hoping for in terms of snow.According to meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, Ellen Heffernan, this has been an unusually dry November. However, one or two good storms could get the resorts back on track, she said.”We are running below average,” Heffernan said. “The snowpack and precipitation is dependent on very few storms. A good storm will bump us up to above average.”That is what Sunlight marketing manager Dylan Lewis is hoping for before the Nov. 30 scheduled opening date.”I’m not nervous,” said Lewis. “We will be able to make snow and we will still open, no matter what.”As long as the temperatures remain relatively cooler than they have in recent weeks, snowmaking should remain on schedule.Heffernan said that November usually has a couple of good storms that bring some good early season snowpack to the area. That has been missing so far this year, which Heffernan attributed to a La Niña cycle this year.”Typically we have a dry early winter in this event,” she said. “But there is a lot of variability in that.”Heffernan said she doesn’t think the storm systems expected to grip much of the state through the weekend to bring much accumulation of snow to the Roaring Fork Valley.”We are not expecting a lot of snow with this (storm) system,” Heffernan said. “It will favor the northern mountains mainly around Steamboat.”She said sometimes Sunlight will benefit from the northern storms but this time no more than 1-3 inches is expected for the area. Another storm expected to come in this weekend and settle upon the region is expected to grant the southern regions with snow, passing right over the slopes in the central mountains once again.”Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint in the forecasts,” Heffernan said. “If the low pressure system drops a little further to the east, it could be a good snow producer for all the central mountains.”Heffernan said that she is hoping for a pattern change that will bring more moisture to the area, but it looks like next week the area will see another dry weather regime similar to what November has seen so far. But she does expect temperatures to remain lower than they’ve been.That is good news for Sunlight and other resorts.As long as the temperatures remain low, Sunlight will make its own snow and will make every attempt to open before December.”We will be open,” Lewis said. Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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